A renormalization group model for the stick-slip behavior of faults.

R. F. Smalley, D. L. Turcotte, S. A. Solla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A fault which is treated as an array of sperities with a prescribed statistical distribution of strengths is described. For a linear array the stress is transferred to a single adjacent asperity and for a 2 dimensional array to 3 adjacent asperities. It is shown that the solutions bifurcate at a critical applied stress. At stresses less than the critical stress virtually no asperities fail on a large scale and the fault is locked. At the critical stress the solution bifurcates and asperity failure cascades away from the nucleus of failure. The observation of stick slip behavior on faults rather than stable sliding, why the observed level of seismicity on a locked fault is very small, and why the stress on a fault is less than that predicted by a standard value of the coefficient of friction are outlined. -from STAR, 22(9), 1984

Original languageEnglish (US)
Journal[No source information available]
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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